Thursday, April 08, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) — More than 280 Iraqis have been killed and 400 wounded this week in the U.S. Marines' siege of insurgents in this city west of Baghdad, the director of Fallujah's hospital said Thursday.
Taher Al-Issawi told The Associated Press that the toll was likely higher.

"We also know of dead and wounded in various places buried under rubble, but we cannot reach them," because of fighting, he said.

The helpless victims of the seige of Falluja ... the children!!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

"Iraq in flames" say the Italian press headlines, and they're dead right.

Full-scale insurgency now - Sunni AND Shia!!... and as every Iraqi death ultimately brings new recruits to the radicalized militia, vicious-circle escalation guaranteed throughout coming months. The coalition's hold had been essentially dependent on Shia tolerance, but now that's blow sky-high!! ...although Sistani is still trying to control the conflagration by calling on HIS followers to stay calm. But as/if the Shia death-toll rises, this will become harder and harder to do.

Apart from Baghdad area, Shia zones are mostly under non-US control (UK, Italy, Spain...) but if this tension continues (and I don't see how the cork can be put back in the bottle now), wonder which if ANY of these these countries will really be prepared to keep their troops in the front line in murderous day-to-day clashes against mass civilian armed revolt. Which would make the "UN/Nato alternative" totally impracticable.

Plus have read US is already "casting doubts" on 30th June handover date due to ..."civil war" aka insurgency - which proves some US dems no less IDIOTIC than Neo-Cons - as any friggin' around with THAT date would automatically bring even the "moderate" Sistani and his followers into armed rebellion, seeing at that point there would be NO further reason to refrain.

Which would leave the US with what?

The Kurdish zones, duh! ...

"DarkMirror prophecy of the week":
US forces, if not withdrawn as per clear schedule rapidly agreed around time of handover, will be ultimately reduced to giving military support to Kurdish secessionist claims, defending Kirkuk oilfields from Shia and Sunni alike in full-blown Iraqi civil war....

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Despite the disingenuous reactions in US media, the horrors of the Falluja crowd's lynching of US private security agents didn't come "from nowhere"...

Here's a quick checklist of the sequence of US actions that have culminated in this brutal mass attack against US personnel.

How the US has been treating the people of Falluja:

Air bombardments in initial invasion period;

April 28th, 2003: US forces fire on crowd in Falluja protesting invasion, killing 17 people and wounding 70;

April 30th, 2003: US forces again fire on protesting crowd, killing 3 more people and wounding another 16:

In the first six months of occupation, US forces killed at least a further 40 civilians and police in and around Falluja.

November 2003: Operation "Ivy Cyclone" and "Operation Iron Hammer" targeted Falluja with 500 lb bombs... followed by attack helicopters and paratroopers in armoured vehicles blowing up civilian properties death and destruction toll "not available"..

January 2004: US troops again fire on protesters = at least 3 killed, 5 seriously wounded

March 28th 2004: marines swept into Falluja - US forces killed at least 6 Iraqi civilians including an 11-year-old boy, and a TV cameraman


No, the vicious-circle cycle of revenge-and-retaliation between occupiers and occupied populations is NOT pretty, anywhere - ugly in Israel/Palestine, in Chechenya... and in Falluja too.

For source links, see my posts in:

Saturday, March 13, 2004

After Karbala, Madrid - the most horrendous attack in Spanish history, in Europe's history....

I sent an email to the Spanish delegation at the UN to express my total solidarity and sorrow:

In these days of mourning, my heart and thoughts are constantly with the victims of this hideous massacre, their families and the people of Madrid.
My greatest hope is to see those responsible for this massacre identified, put on trial and punished as they deserve. I strongly believe that the prevention and punishment of such atrocities can only become effective through the closest possible collaboration amongst all countries, in particular through the UN, and by establishing ever-closer bonds and common policies amongst all the nations of Europe, in friendship with the nations of North Africa and the Middle East, in a climate of mutual respect, partnership and sincere cooperation.

In shared sorrow, with my deepest sympathy.


The authors are not yet known, but ETA has denied any involvement and the Abu Hafs al-Masri brigade has sent a letter claiming responsibility... plus the vast scale of carnage, the multi-focal technique - which does not seem in keeping ETA - so at this point, I think it most likely is the work of an "al qaeda"-type group.

Of the various comments following this attack, the position I agree most strongly with so far is that of the UK Guardian:

The victims of the commuter train bombings in Madrid and the Spaniards who came out of the streets last night surely deserve more than party political responses. Europe too needs to mould a different response to its September 11. Spain has a history which places it at the crossroads of the European and Arab worlds. It understands both traditions. It is a country where once Jew, Muslim and Christian lived together. An international conference, to bridge the divide between Muslim and Christian communities, should be one first step. But there are many others. We need to take the fight against terror out of America's hands. We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response. Europe should seize the moment that America failed to grasp.,2763,1168594,00.html

It is one thing for NATO to join the US war against Afghanistan out of European solidarity with the US following 9/11... and for some European leaders to follow America's urgings to join the US/UK war against Iraq - again chiefly out of solidarity and "extreme" friendship towards the USA... another to pledge blind support to actions and policies so out of keeping with our own beliefs, values and national principles... and also with Europe's historic experience of fighting terrorism, which have always hinged not merely on a show of repressive strenght, but have always sought at the same time to address the grievances that fostered the climate of resentment which breeds terrorism by seeking political solutions as an essential means of isolating the terrorists and preventing the spreading of extremist violence.

And as it is now clear that Europe itself now has to contend with a very grave terrorism problem, I think the time has come for European leaders to decide together what our common policy should be, in all its aspects, against this tremendous threat - and take the necessary measures on a Pan-European basis.

We must no longer passively allow foreign powers to determine our policies and actions for us. Of course there is a great and obvious need for full cooperation amongst ALL countries - and in particular for close collaboration amongst ALL police and intelligence agencies, all over the world, to hunt down all those who plan and carry out such horrendous acts - wherever they may be, whatever their allegiances may be - and above all to seek to prevent further terrorist atrocities.

This must always be guaranteed, with ALL countries all over the world - i.e. NOT only with the USA, but even more urgently with those of North Africa and the Middle East.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Today's black news: the Karbala and Baghdad bombings....

Blogs are at least partly for venting? So it's excusable if I say what I'm feeling now - beyond the purely "rational"?

In a word: dread.

The same ...don't quite know how to express it - fear of uncontrollable chain reactions? that I have been feeling since 9/11 together with the horror and sorrow, a fear that something obscure is happening and we're on the verge of a precipice - all of us, the whole world... and there is only one course, one precise, difficult, very narrow path ... a path "through the labyrinth"...that can avert this tremendous danger - but no-one really knows where it lies. But if "we" - meaning not just "one country" or "one people" or "one" anything - too many threads, too many "players", too many factors involved... get it WRONG ...if "we" make and keep on making the wrong moves (and I sincerely believe the invasion of Iraq was a wrong move.. ) the chain reaction will inexorably build up, play out... follow its full course to disaster ...for ALL of us..

STILL in time to stop it though - but more and more difficult as the mistakes pile up.

This feeling is extremely strong just now - for what it's worth.

Sorry this sounds so freaked out.

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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Been reflecting about how frequently Americans use the word "hatred" in political contexts these days - the Bushites keep repeating that liberals/foreigners all "hate America" "hate Bush" "hate freedom" etc, call Palestinians "hate-crazed", say Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is all about "hating Americans"... And I've also read some anti-war sites saying Americans should start to "hate" Bush for what he's done to the economy, for sending American troops to fight an unnecessary war, etc. etc.

To me this sounds strange and somehow shocking, it's not the kind of political language/climate I'm used to... I find it disquieting.

In Italy, "hate" isn't part of the political vocab: we use a lot of mockery, sarcasm, insults too, sometimes quite vicious ("sewer-rats" etc. ) ... but I've never heard the word "hate" - we usually say we "STRONGLY CONDEMN" something we disapprove of, say it's "a very grave error", "a perversion of democracy" or whatever, then go on to explain why. We'll say a politician/country is acting in an "unworthy" manner, that his/its behaviour is "shameful" ... "repulsive" et etc...but we don't use the word "HATE".. don't see or feel things in those terms. Same goes for NZ - in politics (national and international) we talk in terms of disapproval, not hatred.

The point being that the"judgement > disapproval > decision to oppose" sequence is a rational process which STAYS rational, but what seems to be insinuating its way into US politics seems more like a "judgement > anger > hatred" sequence - i.e. a sequence that starts off as apparently "rational", then totally abandons the rational sphere for that of passionate, irrational emotion..

So what comes after hatred... what's the next step, the culmination, the outlet for such states of hostile passion? Can all that hate really find adequate expression in anything as (let's be honest) tiresome/pain-in-ass-boring as normal political activism?? - Or does it naturally seek its most "appropriate" psychological release through some form of extreme violence??

Organized extreme violence = war - and irrational collective outbreaks of hatred produce mob violence - and also "berserker" warrior gangs (which is what soldiers degenerate into when they "freak out").

But for honesty's sake, I must admit that the rational side of the rational/irrational coin can also have a very dark side. In the years when Italy was devastated by political violence with terrorism from both far-right and far-left, "hatred" was NOT what it was about, it was NOT hatred that inspired those criminal acts, but various kinds of delirious "theorems". So the killing was NOT emotional, it was ... dutiful??? impersonal?? I mean, it seems those shootings/bombings were considered "necessary" but with no emotion even when targetting "enemy" politicians such as Aldo Moro - i t was all the result of a skewed analysis, a cold intellectual delirium.

Basically this was a "covert-op" or "military" mentality, an amateur version of the CIA /KGB and THEIR "cold war" theorems/theories - each murderous action carefully calculated not as an end in itself, but to create the desired political repercussions.

Incidentally, I think ALL "covert-ops" including non-state warfare aka "terrorism" operate in this same psychological mode ... the mentality is not emotional but one of impersonal "dedication" to the cause, i.e. not hatred but belief that the action is a "necessary sacrifice" for a final "good". a "national good" if the cause is national, a "universal good" if it's ideological /universal - which I think includes fanatical religious sects that split off from universal religions, including (as far as we know) Al Quaeda in relation to Islam??

Sunday, February 01, 2004

"DarkMirror" probability-prophecy attempt of the week...

Going out on a not-too-thin prophetic limb here: ... my feeling is that no matter what Bush's electoral wishful thinking may be, I don't think the US will be able to start pulling its troops out for a long time now even if it wants to - useless as US troops are for most practical "Iraqi security" purposes due to lack of knowledge of local language, culture and social ins and outs - and despite growing hostility not only from Sunnis but from Shia too.. because the likelihood of Iraq degenerating into multi-sided strife aka civil war is way too high now , the situation has already degenerated too far for the US to have much chance of a) reversing it or b) significantly "unloading" the Iraqi quagmire onto other countries. And it won't be able to use them merely to man a comfy big US military base conveniently near the oil-fields... the troops will have to stay in where the "action" is, in other words keep in there as sitting targets for insurgents and other attackers, then keep rampaging in afterwards to try to repress the attacks... thereby breeding more hostility, more attacks and so on ad infinitum - plus having the totally "non-enviable" situation to look forward to of being caught as man -in-the-middle in ethnic/religious warfare... really dangerous peacekeeping on the ground being well known to be the US's LEAST favorite military exercise - but that's exactly what it's going to get.

UN involvement? Yeah yeah, keep whistling - theoretically yes, on humanitarian grounds, but in reality the UN has to depend entirely on troops supplied by other "willing" nations and WHO exactly is going to be so crazy at this point as to supply the requisite several hundred thousand troops at this stage, in this situation or worse? Ditto NATO, don't think any other countries will really be prepared to provide much more than token assistance.

So... George W. wanted a war ? Wanted to send his fellow-citizens off to foreign climes to get bombed and shot at? Well I'm afraid that's what they've got... and when it will end is anybody's guess but my guess is that it WON'T be all over by June this year... or next year... or the year after that... And pre-emptively destroying Iraq's own civil policing and army structures hasn't helped much either... it's very easy to destroy, very hard to rebuild.. and/or glue what you've shattered back into some kind of workable, usable shape.

Anyway, I think a few years of this situation will put the US off any more offshore "adventuring" into wars of choice, for several generations to come.. which currently seems to be the only "silver lining" in this very gloomy situation

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Kurdish leader Jamal Talabani is blaming Turkey for today's massacre of Kurds - including prominent Kurdish leaders - in Arbil!!

EEK ... this is from the Israeli "insider-info" site DebkaFile, which seems to be a very good channel for Kurdish info (proved it with scoop on Kurdish involvement in Saddam's capture) - the story hasn't been picked up by the major news agencies yet and DebkaFile is sometimes believable, sometimes just spins the Mossad line... but on logic, in this case I think it's credible re Talabani's accusations... whether or not they're accurate is anyone's guess but the very fact he's making them (instead of following the US line of accusing the Kurdish splinter group Answar Al Islam ) does NOT promise well for peace in this area.

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The double suicide-bombings of Kurdish party headquarters

Shocked, saddened at this latest tragedy - but not surprised. Unfortunately crappy US pre-war info on Iraq wasn't limited to WMDs but total off-the-wall crappiness also extended to probable course of events, post-"liberation" (what a black, tragic joke)! Pandora's Box. Remember warnings about "destabilization" - well, this is what that abstract term looks like in the real, physical world: broken, bleeding corpses.

"Religious extremism" has nothing to do with this despite the usual spin, it's a straight anti-Kurdish strike (Kurds are Sunni too but support US and enjoy US support = for their own purposes ..)... Religious disguise used here merely for access. Now of course there will be Kurdish retaliations, too much to hope that the Kurds with their peshmerga militias etc will take this lying down.. so blood will flow even more freely in this martyred country.. the "balkanization" of Iraq proceeds inexorably step by step in its descent into ever-increasing horror.

My helpless sorrow and deepest sympathy to all Iraqis alike.

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Examining the field, I've come to the conclusion that Kerry meets all the requirements for a natural-born "Bilderberger". So I guess it's up to the American electorate to chose our yoke for us: either the PNAC's unilateral Pax Americana or the Bilderbergers' multilateral NWO??

Well..after the recent NeoCon Experience, Back-to-Bilderbergers-As-Usual seems not only a distinctly "lesser evil" but... almost a relief??

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Torture of US/UK prisoners in Iraq?

This topic came up in a thread on the WhatReallyHappened forum on MSN
( ) ... setting off a long chain of reflections... it hit such a nerve that I actually produced a kind of dissertation on this hideous topic.

From: Flyers Sent: 13/01/2004 21:16

Thank you, Parvati. I was sure the use of torture was not limited to non-U.S. countries, and you substantiated thus.

Surely the U.S. tortures some of its prisoners, because they need the facts.

And if any of you were stationed in Iraq, and thought you had the guy to lead you to Saddam, what would you have done?
Better yet, if bin Laden were in your sites, and you had a cat, hip to Osama's ways, what would you do to get the info???

Tickle him?

From: parvati_roma Sent: 14/01/2004 07:01

Surely the U.S. tortures some of its prisoners, because they need the facts.

The kind of "facts" Beria dug for in the Lubyanka's dungeons to bolster the Soviet empire's show-trials (anyone remember the "Jewish Doctors' Conspiracy"??)?
The kind of "facts" the Inquisition obtained from heretics, Jews and philosophers??
The kind of "facts" pressed, squeezed and twisted out of witch-suspects in Salem?

Torture has been abolished in the civilized world "not only" for humanitarian reasons, but also due to the well-known unreliability of information obtained by this method.
It's a crude and vicious instrument more likely to provide hallucination and/or deliberate deception than truth.

Which may well explain - despite America's "best efforts" as interrogators in the Sunni triangle - why they owe Saddam's capture to Kurdish forces, Kurdish info - drawn not from torture but from "human intelligence" culled through their extensive, subtle political webs of contacts and intrigue.


Incidentally, I've personally known two people who endured many interrogation sessions consisting of systematic torture - one was an Italian resistance leader tortured by the Nazis during the occupation of Rome by beating and "live" extraction of his teeth, the other a Czech film director who in his youth had worked for the Allies' partisan network in WWII.. he later spent 10 years in a Stalinist gulag after torture by beatings and application of electric shocks to his genitals.

Neither of these men provided any "useful" information whatsoever - not an empty boast, but due to the fact - as many other reports confirm - that under the duress of extreme pain and brutality, the victim is quite often able to enter into a mental state of "dissociation" allowing detachment from bodily sensation - a cold, floaty state of controlled rage in which moral contempt for the torturers is the dominant emotion.

The Italian renaissance philosopher Tommaso Campanella - who was not only a "heretic" but had also been involved in a political insurgency plot against the Spanish rulers of Southern Italy - successfully played cat-and-mouse with the Inquisition for decades... by feigning madness induced by pain and fear.


From some of my nastier historical/political reading, it appears the most effective interrogation techniques are those based on essentially psychological methods, involving

a) intel-based blackmail - also common as a tough-cop anti-organized-crime police method

b) "turning" the victim's system of beliefs and loyalties by means of various kinds of brainwashing techniques, including long-term sensory deprivation and isolation to induce a craving for the interrogator's approval and understanding.

Both of these techniques require considerable time and effort on the part of the interrogators, but can result in real cooperation and consequently accurate info... but currently appear far beyond the capabilities of the US forces in Iraq, whose ignorance of the subtleties of local language, culture and social structure effectively rule them out. What's happening there, as in the case of most of the French troops in Algeria (though France's ties with Algeria ran far deeper than those of the US in Iraq), seems to consist chiefly of random brutality inspired by a thirst for revenge for fellow US soldiers killed or wounded by the insurgents.

However, attempts to apply the more systematic and effective psychological techniques just may account for a part - a small part - of the reasons why the US is so reluctant to release its illegally-held prisoners in Guantanamo?? ...although they don't seem to have obtained much so far for their pains,as the "Al Quaeda" arrests made so far have almost invariably been based on foreign (Pakistani, Saudi...) intelligence.

The other part being that if released, the detainees would at last be able to talk to the press, to tell their stories... thus revealing both the absurdity of the majority of these haphazard mass arrests and the way these prisoners are being treated in US hands.

Which would be extremely embarrassing, eh?? So at this point, I'll bet the US wishes they could just "disappear" the whole lot of 'em - Argentina-style.

Anyone remember "The Spy who Came In From the Cold??" the "Little Drummer Girl"? "Russia House" ?? The finest Cold War spy-thrillers ever written, by an ex-spymaster from British intelligence who knew exactly what he was talking about.

Well, he's back!! - with a new book, and a lot to say.

The novelist who came in from the Cold War,

Globe and Mail, January 6, 2004

By Alan Freeman
Jan 8, 2004, 10:39

He's made a career spinning tales of East-West espionage. But as John le Carré's newest novel reflects a brave new world of U.S. 'hyperpower' -- and his fears about where it is leading us

He speaks slowly and calmly. He has the soft accent and intonation of an Oxford graduate and onetime teacher at Eton, and uses the language of a master wordsmith. But John le Carré is a very angry man.

At 72, David John Moore Cornwell is probably the world's best-known spy writer, though his novels have a literary quality few others can match. Since writing his first novel more than 40 years ago as a young diplomat and intelligence officer in Germany, le Carré has published 19 titles, including such classics of the genre as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Russia House.

His latest book, Absolute Friends, combines le Carré's fascination with the Cold War and his current bête noire: a burning conviction that the war against terror unleashed by the United States is a threat to world peace as great as the evil it's supposed to be fighting.

The novel tells the story of a Briton named Ted Mundy and a German called Sasha, the son of a Lutheran pastor with a shady Nazi past, who become "absolute friends" in the near-revolutionary ferment of West Berlin in the late 1960s.

They end up as double agents for the British during the Cold War and resume their friendship years after the fall of the Berlin Wall when they resume their lives as spooks in the run-up to the war in Iraq, ending up as victims of what le Carré calls the "neoconservative junta" that now rules Washington.

The novel goes back to a familiar theme and old territory: Germany during the Cold War. And his descriptions of people and places are as evocative as ever. But le Carré denies suffering from a case of what contemporary Germans call Ostalgie, nostalgia for the old East Germany.

"I'm much more interested in the organic procession of history. I'm not wishing for the good old days of the Cold War," says the author. "The reverse: What I find extremely upsetting is the speed with which the one hyperpower has recreated an atmosphere of terror."

His views on the Iraq war are peppered throughout the novel, which was completed in June of 2003. "The war on Iraq was illegitimate . . . It was a criminal and moral conspiracy. No provocation, no link with al-Qaeda, no weapons of Armageddon. Tales of complicity and Osama were self-serving bullshit. It was an old colonial war dressed up as a crusade for Western life and liberty, and it was launched by a clique of war-hungry Judeo-Christian geopolitical fantasists who hijacked the media and exploited America's post-9/11 psychopathy."


For a novelist who long eschewed interviews, le Carré can't stop talking about Bush, Blair and the war on terror. "I don't like the term 'war on terror' because it presupposes that you turn an ideological, religious war into a territorial conflict."He blames the wave of terror in the Middle East "first and foremost on the creation of the state of Israel and the unceasing conflict that's arisen there. If we could solve the Palestine-Israel problem, we'd be halfway to solving a whole lot of other problems. If you believe, as I do, that Israel must survive, that Jews deserve a homeland, it is now at least possible to say that they're going about it the wrong way. But already, that makes me an anti-Semite. . . . When I wrote The Little Drummer Girl," his 1983 novel that focused on the Israeli-Palestinian situation, he notes, "I received the most disgusting letters from American-Jewish organizations. None was from Israel."


Le Carré believes the world is suffering from three forms of fundamentalism. He doesn't talk much about Islamic fundamentalism, saving his harshest criticism for the alliance between Christian evangelism and what he calls Zionist fundamentalism. "Doesn't anybody ever talk about Zionist fundamentalism, those American-Jewish settlers in the settlements? You hear the same racist junk and the same bloodthirsty talk and the same indifference to life and death."

Le Carré bristles at suggestions he may be anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. "I'm not even an anti-Zionist. . . . I want Israel to survive. And I think that every step that [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon has taken compounds the situation."

When it's recalled to him that Bush and Sharon were both elected and can be replaced by voters, while the likes of Saddam Hussein rule as despots for decades, le Carré shoots back: "Do you suppose that Bush was legally elected? Do you suppose that it is democratic to dismantle rights in America that the forefathers of the present politicians fought for bitterly? Do you suppose we're offering a democratic example through Guantanamo? Do you think it democratic to lie, persistently and deliberately, to a population that has elected, or not elected, you?

"So don't please fall into the trap of believing this is a battle between the civilized and the uncivilized world. That's the first colonial misconception. This is a battle between hyperpower and non-hyperpower. It's a battle between majorities and minorities. Never was there such an unequal war fought on such spurious grounds in my memory, except possibly if we go back to Suez."

I have always had ENORMOUS respect for Le Carre'... during the Cold War no-one could have accused him of being a "lefty" - his basic attitude was simply and honestly declared: that the West, although far from perfect, was the "lesser evil" compared to the police-state system established in the Soviet Union, so his "honest spy" Smiley had no option but to hold his nose and get on with his covert job.. But that was then and this is now: the "excuses" of the Cold War are no longer valid, the lies are blatant and transparent, the self-serving brutalities of the US/UK are clear for all to see... so Le Carre' too has decided the time has come to speak out!

So pleased to discover the great Le Carre' too is "one of us"......

Monday, January 12, 2004

And so the news from Iraqi goes on and it's not good, Iraqis still short of electricity, still short of gas, things keep on going bang, people keep on dying. Plus worries about ethnic tensions leading to possible civil war. Depressing.

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